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Blackhawks Tue Sep 27 2011

Blackhawks: a Preview

There's no doubt that last season the Blackhawks got rocked on the ice more than they would like to admit. Patrick Kane's black eye at the end of the season was a nice reminder of their lack of hard hitters and winning puck battles in front of the net.

Luckily during the offseason General Manager Stan Bowman set out to bring some players in who would make the Hawks a little rougher. Bowman brought in Steve Montador, Jamal Mayers, Andrew Brunette, Daniel Carcillo, Brett McLean and veteran Sean O'Donnell all on one-year contracts.

The Hawks also signed Corey Crawford to a three-year contract over the off season. He will no doubt start in goal this season after his rookie year with a 2.20 goals-against average and a combined record of 33-18-6 in 57 regular season games. He's also looking to put a nix to the "sophomore jinx" this season by continuing on the path he started last year with the team.

Even though Quenneville hasn't outright said the Hawks are missing something in the center, he has been looking into moving Kane to the middle, as a potential forward for the second line with Hossa. This could be Quenneville's only choice for a while due to Patrick Sharp still in recovery after an emergency appendectomy on Sep 12. Sharp played center a lot for the second line last year, but due to the surgery and his only now beginning to skate on his own, the Hawks have begun to put Kane in the middle during preseason.

Along with the possible move to center, Kane has also come back from his injury (a broken bone in his wrist) earlier this summer and begun leading players in exhibition. Proving he really meant what he said at the end of last season promising to do whatever it took to become an "elite."

With all the moves made over the summer the Hawks should have no problem starting off much stronger than they did last season.

 
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